Community Service Award: Faculty

July 22, 2011

Dr. Kristine Zentgraf


What may be above and beyond the call of duty for other faculty members is business as usual for Dr. Kristine Zentgraf. She has been a strong supporter of immigrant students and families in the greater Long Beach area as well as an advocate for comprehensive immigration reform and economic justice issues.

Her special relationship with immigrant students, including those who are undocumented, began six years ago, long before there was a formal faculty-staff AB 540 student ally program. Immigrant students began to seek her out because they’d heard her give talks about the effects of U.S. immigration policies on youth and families. A member of the Sociology Department since 1998, Dr. Zentgraf works tirelessly with the Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition (LBIRC) to help provide a path for legalization for undocumented students and has helped to organize community fundraisers that benefit immigrant students at CSULB.

As part of her work with the Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition, Dr. Zentgraf has reached out to the larger community at a number of public events including Long Beach’s Latin American Festival, and its Cesar Chavez Festival and she regularly speaks to community and religious groups about immigration and the importance of immigration reform. She served as co-organizer of the first Interfaith Service on Immigration held in 2010 at the First Congregational Church. Dr. Zentgraf has also played a vital role in LBIRC’s free immigrant legal clinics and “Know Your Rights” trainings for undocumented immigrants. Dr. Zentgraf was a founding member of the Long Beach Coalition for Good Jobs and a Healthy Community from 2008 to 2010.

She received the Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award in 2005. She received her bachelor of arts in sociology from CSULB in 1986 and went on to UCLA where she earned her master’s in 1988 and her doctorate in 1998.